Upgrading the PCS Process

How the DoD is Implementing Smart Changes

19_PCS_Blog_HeaderLast summer, Megan Harless posted an open letter to elected officials on her Facebook page, Military Spouse Chronicles. It implored Congress and the United States Transportation Command (Transcom) to consider a number of concerns about the Permanent Change of Station (PCS) process. Namely, holding moving companies accountable for delays, lost and damaged household goods, rushing the job, and apathy, among other all-too-common problems that many military families have to deal with.

Accidents are inevitable, and many would consider themselves lucky if they manage to move across the country without breaking or losing anything. Although the military does allow families to file a claim and receive financial compensation for lost or damaged items, there are things that money simply cannot replace.

Harless and other members of the military community saw plenty of room for improvement in the system and wanted to help protect military families. So she started a petition on Change.org, which has over 100,000 signatures to date, asking Transcom to step up and make some much-needed changes.

The good news? Congress heard them. A bipartisan group of Representatives from multiple committees wrote a letter to Stephen Lyons, the Transcom Commander General, echoing their concerns. This year, as we enter into the busy season for PCS, the DoD is implementing a few corrective changes that should help.

COMMITTEE FORMED

According to Military Times, the DoD’s first step was to form a cross-functional panel of representatives from personnel and logistical groups to identify issues and make recommendations for improvements. The team consists of senior leaders from Office of the Secretary of Defense and their goal is to enact meaningful changes. 

CHANGES BEGIN

First, to allow service members to schedule their moves as soon as possible, the DoD is issuing PCS orders much farther in advance. The Marine Crops, for example, has been issuing orders as much as 160 days ahead of report dates. The early notice helps ensure movers and inspectors are available when needed, especially during the busy season between mid-May and the end of August.

Second, the DoD has a new requirement: 50% of moves must be inspected for quality assurance in person by an official inspector. To accomplish this, and to ensure they have enough inspectors available, the branches are activating more trained reservists than normal to help around installations with the QA process. 

CUSTOMER SERVICE

Another major issue being addressed is customer service. To help hold the bad companies accountable, the DoD has implemented customer satisfaction surveys. With the results, they can then create a rating system to determine which companies should be contracted for future moves and which ones should not. 

Lastly, Transcom’s website, Move.mil, has been completely revamped. It’s now much easier to find local personal property offices, file claims, and reach out to customer service with questions or concerns.

If you’re embarking on your first PCS move this season, be sure to check out their moving guides and tutorials. And don’t forget to visit the PCS section of our Military Money Smarts learning center for more tips and resources, including our Do’s and Don’ts video.

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